Friday, December 19, 2008

Woohoo! Surprise package!

I know this will forever ruin my carefully manicured cool image <*shut it, Spork*>, but I love getting packages in the mail. If I get one that I know is coming, life is good. If I get an unexpected package, life becomes almost unbearably great. So imagine my utter joy when I went to the post office to pick up a package that I knew was coming (because I ordered it) and got a bonus package to boot! I ripped into that bad boy so hard that the padding from the enviro-friendly envelope flew out and stuck all over my dark blue shirt. It was worth it, though, because the package contained a new cookbook!

The book was Swedish Cakes and Cookies by Melody Favish, sent to me by Swedish friend, Christina.

I've bugged Christina for Swedish recipes from time to time, so she's well aware of my cookbook habit (addiction just seems like such a harsh word).

The book is filled with pictures and recipes for all sorts of delightful cookies, little pastries, cakes and sweet breads. I've already picked my first experiment, a braided sweet bread made with cottage cheese and orange zest, drizzled with a powdered sugar glaze. Yum!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I think I have finally done it

This is it, cinnamon roll nirvana! Tender, rich, gooey and dripping with frosting. I even managed to get all of the ingredients in this time. Yes, the salt, the raisins and the nuts. It's practically a cooking miracle.

I usually bake my cinnamon rolls on a cookie sheet, but I opted to use a 12" round pan this time and I liked it better. The inner rolls stayed soft, so less crust. Yes, this was definitely a winning batch. I took them to share with my parents, but Spork wouldn't let the leftovers to come home with us. It seemed so wrong to just abandon them like that.

Oh man, look at that! I want another one now!

I'm working on writing up the recipe, since a lot of it exists only in my head. I now have a lot more respect for cookbook writers - it's hard getting every detail written out.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I wondered why my cats were so into the holidays

It's just another part of their nefarious plan for world domination, which will be accomplished through the strategic placement of hairballs.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Friday, December 5, 2008

Oops, I lied!

Yesterday when Big John asked if I had cooked anything interesting lately, I said no, but that wasn't exactly true. My mental storage was filled with Thanksgiving food, which while tasty, isn't exactly blog worthy (except the Red Rooster, which is always a hit). Outside of Thanksgiving food, I've been experimenting with sourdough bread leavened entirely from the wild yeast in the sourdough - no yeast added. I became a nutso fan in San Francisco, where everything seems to be served in sourdough bread of some form. I tried to create my own starter a few times, without success, and finally sent off for a dried starter. Carl Griffith's starter, in case anyone else wants to give it a go.

I've made 2 loaves so far, as well as some pancakes and a batch of biscuits. I rated the biscuits as "Meh," but the pancakes were pretty good. The bread, on the other hand, was really good. Both loaves were mighty fine taste-wise, but both of them split along the bottom edge, which made them sub-par in my obsessive-compulsive eyes. I posted a plea for help on a cooking forum and have a couple of tricks to try next time: 1. Slash the loaf deeply right before baking and 2. Add a pan of hot water to the oven during baking, to keep the crust flexible. I'm going to try tip #1 first, since the crust on the last loaf was bread perfection - crispy, crackly and a little carmelized. I don't want to lose that, just keep it from exploding along the bottom.

Pretty side

Split side